Father Marcel Guarnizo has finally spoken out about a recent incident in which he denied communion to Barbara Johnson, a lesbian woman, at her mother’s funeral. Guarnizo has since been suspended, and in his statement, he clarifies that the suspension was entirely related to the incident with Johnson and defends his actions:
But I am going to defend my conduct in these instances, because what happened I believe contains a warning to the church. Such circumstances can and will be repeated multiple times over if the local church does not make clear to all Catholics that openly confessing sin is something one does to a priest in the confessional, not minutes before the Mass in which the Holy Eucharist is given.
I am confident that my own view, that I did the only thing a faithful Catholic priest could do in such an awkward situation, quietly, with no intention to hurt or embarrass, will be upheld.
Otherwise any priest could-and many will-face the cruelest crisis of conscience that can be imposed. It seems to me, the lack of clarity on this most basic issue puts at risk other priests who wish to serve the Catholic Church in Washington D.C.
Considering he blatantly humiliated a woman at her mother’s funeral and continues to call her sinful in public statements, it seems doubtful Guarnizo understands exactly what it means to “hurt or embarrass” somebody.